Eating with CKD

If you are trying to restrict the amount of sodium in your diet, there are some easy things you can do:

  • Learn to decipher food labels. Skip foods whose ingredients include sodium or monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Avoid eating processed and cured foods, including deli meat, bacon, ham, smoked meats and processed cheese, since they are all typically high in sodium.
  • Watch out for other high-sodium foods, such as pickles, olives, snack foods and soups.
  • Skip the drive-through, since "fast foods" are notoriously high in sodium.
  • Instead of adding salt to your food at the table, use healthier seasonings such as herbs and spices or a little squeeze of lemon for extra flavor.

Protein is necessary for strong bones and muscles, but too much of it can cause your kidneys to work harder. Here are some tips for managing the protein in your diet:

  • Begin by consulting your renal dietitian to determine how much and what kinds of proteins you should eat
  • Protein is found in meat and dairy products, but it also can be found in vegetables, breads and cereals. You'll need to become aware of these lesser-known sources of protein.
  • Select high-quality protein, including chicken, fish, cheese, eggs and lean meats.

Keeping phosphorus levels healthy means watching your intake of these foods and beverages:

  • Limit your consumption of dairy products
  • Limit nuts, peanut butter, beans, seeds or peas
  • Limit cocoa, beer or cola drinks

When reading food nutrition labels, look out for these ingredients, which all refer to phosphorus: phosphoric acid, dicalcium phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, pyrophosphates, hexametaphosphate, polyphosphates and sodium phosphate.

If you need to limit your potassium intake:

  • You may be able to use a salt substitute instead of table salt, but be sure to check with your health care provider first, since many are high in potassium.
  • You may be better off using herbs and spices and skipping the "salt" altogether.

If your health care provider says you need to watch your fluid intake, keep these tips in mind:

  • Your fluid intake is not just about water and other beverages. Any food that is liquid at room temperature counts. This includes ice cream, gelatin and soup.
  • Note that some fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, grapes, apples, lettuce and celery, also contain water and should be restricted.

Your health care team can help you get on track with your diet, so you can support your health through good eating. It is likely that your kidney diet will change as time goes by and your kidney function and treatment changes.

Reprinted with permission by DaVita Inc. For more info on the kidney diet, go to


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Last Modified Date: February 15, 2013

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